The Domestication of the English Language for Literary Purpose in Nigeria: Creating a National Identity Dare Owolabi Essay

Abstract—Nigeria is. evidently. one of the largest ESL users in the universe. The linguistic communication that foremost came with the colonial Masterss as a foreign linguistic communication has since grown in springs and bounds to now go a 2nd linguistic communication and. undisputedly. the country’s official linguistic communication. As the largest black state in the universe. Nigeria. utilizing English as the official linguistic communication. has affected the linguistic communication in a manner that has created a Nigerian individuality that is fast going a assortment of English as an international linguistic communication. This assortment of English. which I refer to as Niglish has international intelligibility. holding been used by Nigerian authors to win international awards. This survey examines how the English linguistic communication has been nativized in the Nigerian environment for literary intent. utilizing selected plants from recent literary creative persons in Nigeria and by Nigerians. The paper identifies the Nigerianness in the usage of English in the plants of the authors examined to demo how these authors manage to keep a balance between local colour and international intelligibility and acceptableness. The principal for this survey were selected and grouped under transliteration. intervention and importing of L1 vocabulary. taking to exchanging and commixture of codification. Phonology has been intentionally left out of this survey for the obvious ground that non-native grownup 2nd linguistic communication English users are non known to hold acceptable competency of native talkers in the spoken facet of linguistic communication. Besides. merely written plants were examined. The survey concludes that the appraisal of any regional assortment of English. such as Nigerian English should be endonormative instead than exonormative. bearing in head local distinctive features. and peculiarly originative and matter-of-fact usage of the linguistic communication. Index Terms—Domestication of English. linguistic communication for specific intent. literary intent. local colour. national individuality.

I. INTRODUCTION The English linguistic communication has become really dominant in Nigeria that
it will be an aberrance. because of its nonindigenous nature. to still see it as foreign. It has to the full entrenched itself as a lasting member of the nation’s lingual household. Since its acceptance as non merely a 2nd linguistic communication. but besides as the official lingual medium in the state. its influence has continued to distribute. in about every domain of the nation’s life. The English linguistic communication in usage in Nigeria is. nevertheless. different from the one used as yardsticks for Standard English. but it is. however. apprehensible and non in any manner inferior to any other assortment. by lingual criterions. Nigeria. indisputably. one of the largest populations of talkers of English as 2nd linguistic communication in the universe ( Akere. 2009 ; Jowitt. 2009 ) . now uses the linguistic communication with some step of sleight that may shortly

Manuscript received August 7. 2012 ; revised November 20. 2012. Dare Owolabi is with Department of English and Literary Studies. Ekiti State University. Ado Ekiti. Nigeria ( e-mail: [ electronic mail protected ]) .

amaze native talkers. It is a well-known fact that many Nigerian authors have received awards globally on history of their literary art in the English linguistic communication medium. For illustration Nigerian born Wole Soyinka. is the first African Nobel Laureate in literature. With the attainment of this position. it is high clip true acknowledgment be accorded the emerging assortment of English in Nigeria. which has been successfully domesticated. by the manner the linguistic communication has been and is still being ‘home-grown…adapted and tamed to accommodate the Nigerian environment’ ( Adegbija. 2004 ) . Dynamism is one of the features of any living linguistic communication. and the different assortments of English emerging from different parts of the universe today are a testimony to the plangency of the linguistic communication. Creativity. as a linguistic communication characteristic. has greatly influenced these emerging assortments of English in the universe. and this is besides a factor that has helped midwife the Nigerian assortment of English ; a assortment that has helped Nigerians show their universe position. their ain manner. In add-on. pragmatism as a manner of reacting to immediate state of affairs through the English linguistic communication medium has led to what Omolewa ( 1979: 14-15 ) calls ‘working English’ .

This is. nevertheless. different from the broad spread Pidgin English. which continues to function as the lingual span across the murky Waterss of lingual Babel in Nigeria. Apart from the fact that Pidgin is greatly influenced by the immediate local linguistic communications. therefore doing uniformity hard. it is restricted to large metropoliss and towns and common among the labor. The emerging Nigerian English is non to a great extent dependent on autochthonal linguistic communications. Harmonizing to Igboanusi ( 2002:4 ) . ‘NE has its beginning in British English. and the vocabulary of NE has hence shown a strong British influence’ . In other words. while Pidgin is common among the uneducated and spoken by the educated when they want to condescend or for an consequence. NE is spoken by the educated and the degree of instruction determines the assortment of NE used by persons. Although English. as used by Nigerians. may non. and can non. be the same. as that used by those who have the linguistic communication as their female parent lingua. the Nigerian effort at cultivating the linguistic communication to accommodate domestic intents is. no uncertainty. fast going a assortment. To that extent NE should be seen as an acceptable going from the regulations in enunciation. pronunciation or from what is by and large regarded as the criterion. but possessing common intelligibility even at international degree. The contact of English with autochthonal linguistic communications in Nigeria has some effects on the English linguistic communication. Sum uping Alamin A. Mazrui ( 2004 ) . Akere ( 2009:3 ) . defines domestication of English as ‘the transmutation of English as an foreigner medium. to do it 488

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respond to local imagination. figures of address. sound forms and the general cultural surroundings of the region’ . Nigerian authors are known to exhibit cases of Nigerianism in their usage of English and these divergences have non been known to suppress international intelligibility.

II. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Having attained the position of a planetary linguistic communication. English. no uncertainty. is bound to hold different assortments. likely reflecting local niceties. but however reciprocally apprehensible. and so. the linguistic communication is no longer the sole preserve of the British Isles. from where it
originated. English is now spoken in about all continents of the universe. although in different signifiers that are. nevertheless. undisputedly identifiable with the linguistic communication in its place base. taking to what is now normally referred to as World English. Nigerian English is one signifier of the so called World English. with clearly identifiable characteristics that are curious to it as a member of the Outer Circle. These signifiers are different. particularly in its phonological facet from that of the Inner Circle but to some extent closer to the Inner Circle than the assortments in the Expanding Circle. So this survey is conceived along the Indian-American bookman. Braj Kachru’s theory of the Concentric Circle. Nigerian English. like other assortments spoken in former British settlements. particularly in Africa belongs to the Outer Circle. with characteristics that are clearly identifiable with the peculiar part in the Outer Circle. The assortment of English found in the texts for this survey. is the type that shows Nigerian local coloring material and cultural niceties.

Lack of political will to force through any of the autochthonal linguistic communications. originating from ( I ) above ; The linguistic communication that has come to make full the measure. which is English. is seen by many as a consolidative force in the disruptive lingual terrain. This linguistic communication has since attained the position of a 2nd linguistic communication and many of the younger coevalss are now effectual bilinguals. The English linguistic communication used in Nigeria is now referred to as Nigerian English. which is the nativized signifier of the Standard English. The linguistic communication is used in a curious manner to accommodate Nigerians’ intent and in such a manner that ‘as a domestic retainer does what the maestro requires…English in Nigeria is now made to make exactly what Nigerians want it to do’ ( Adegbija. 2004:20 ) . This is precisely what Sinclair ( 1988:3 ) has besides noted about native speakers’ loss of control over English when it is said that: ‘the English linguistic communication has been so successfully exported round the universe that the native talkers no longer hold control over it’ . In a nutshell. Nigerian English is the signifier Okoro ( 2004:167 ) classifies as ‘…English the manner Nigerians speak and compose it! ’ with its distinctive features which do non earnestly obstruct international intelligibility.

IV. Language FOR SPECIFIC PURPOSES: Giving VALUE TO ENGLISH IN ESL ENVIRONMENT The specific intent to which linguistic communication is put is what really
gives value to linguistic communication ; otherwise linguistic communication will be of small value. The major value of linguistic communication is its being used to accomplish a communicative intent. Crocker ( 1981:8 ) says what characterizes linguistic communication for specific intent ( LSP ) more than anything else is the value it places upon linguistic communication as a means instead than as an terminal in itself. ESP. as an outgrowth of LSP. is ‘…generally used to mention to the teaching/learning of a foreign linguistic communication for a clearly useful purpose… non as an terminal in itself but as an indispensable agency to clearly identifiable goal’ ( Mackay. 1978:2 ) . One major intent of literature is to entertain. and this is why this survey is on the usage of English in Nigerian literature. The ESP’s popular motto. “Tell me what you need English for and I will state you the English that you need” ( Hutchinson & A ; Waters ( 1987:8 ) . is the footing of our scrutiny of the usage to which the English linguistic communication has been put by literary creative persons in Nigeria. These authors know what Nigerians need English for and. have. to a big extent. domesticated the English linguistic communication for that intent in literature plants.

III. LANGUAGES AND THE QUESTION OF NATIONAL LANGUAGE IN NIGERIA Nigeria has no 1 individual linguistic communication that can be regarded as the nation’s linguistic communication. Different communities or group of communities have one linguistic communication or the other peculiar to them. These legion linguistic communications have no topographic point in official and educational affairs. Even where official acknowledgment is accorded three major linguistic communications that represent the three major parts viz: Haussa in the Northern portion. Igbo in the South Eastern portion and Yoruba in the South Western portion. they are merely used in affairs of civilization. The Nigerian lingual state of affairs necessitates the acceptance of a non-partisan lingual codification for the benefit of all. and this duty falls on the linguistic communication English since no autochthonal linguistic communication can be used as a national linguistic communication. So many grounds have been put frontward for the acceptance of English. a non-indigenous linguistic communication. as Nigeria’s tongue franca. Some of these include: Fear of political domination. if any autochthonal linguistic communication is selected no affair how good intentioned ; Avoiding the India’s experience. where the pick of Hindi was reported to hold led to riots in many nonHindi speech production parts ( Yule. 2007 ) ; Lack of substructure. such as instructors. books and other learning resources. for any selected linguistic communication ;

V. NIGERIAN WRITERS’ PECULIAR USE OF ENGLISH FOR LITERARY PURPOSE What we examine in this subdivision is the manner Nigerian authors use the English linguistic communication for the specific demands of Nigerians. but which however will still go through the trial of international intelligibility. In other words. these authors are rooted in Nigeria in their lingual pick. but they spread their messages. like tree subdivisions. to other parts of the universe. where some of them have won one award or the 489

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other. In this survey. the information presented are grouped under the undermentioned headers: transliteration. intervention and importing of L1 vocabulary. taking to code shift and commixture. The information for this survey come from three recent novels by Nigerian novelists: Lola Soneyin. The Secrete Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives ( TSLBSW ) ( 2010 ) . Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Purple Hibiscus ( PH ) ( 2006 ) and Half of a Yellow Sun ( HYS ) ( 2006 ) . Transliteration: By transliteration here we mean direct interlingual rendition of an look in L1 to L2. such that the construction of L1 is so domineering that the attendant look in L2 appears unusual. Below are some illustrations from the novels selected for this survey. Thank you for returning our oral cavity to the affair at manus my friend ( 5 ) ( TSLBSW ) The above look is improbable in Standard English. the equivalent of which is likely to be Thank you for conveying us back to the affair at manus ( my friend ) . What is apparent here is that there has been a aside. to which one of the discussants is seeking to maneuver others back on class. to the capable affair from which they had detoured. …he hoisted himself onto his pess utilizing the bedpost for support and prayed that forenoon would wake them good ( 14 ) ( TSLBSW ) . Although the look forenoon would wake them good may happen in Standard English as a nonliteral look ( personification ) . which is non the sense in which it is used here. It is a actual manner of wishing that the following forenoon will be good. Has this woman’s caput scattered that she now scrubs my oral cavity? ( 62 ) ( TSLBSW ) . This is an look that is non likely to hold an equivalent in Standard English to show the existent idea. The closest paraphrasis that we can hold to show the idea is: Is this adult female insane that she now argues with me?

Let me state you one of the things I did. Laughter putting to deaths me when I think of it ( 67 ) ( TSLBSW ) . The look Laughter kills me. in Standard English can be paraphrased “I laughed hysterically” . but expressed this manner in a Nigerian novel for this class of audience. will non transport the expected weight. So for the intent of the expected weight. it has to be transliterated from the L1. and it is understood from the background of L1. My girls were born with eyes in their tummies so they are speedy to digest all that they see…Like I said. they have eyes in their tummy ( 88 ) ( TSLBSW ) The look. eyes in their tummy. which means to be discernable. is non what can be understood for people who are used to Standard English. It has been specifically used for the intent of literature in the novel. They have taken him! They have taken him! ( 45 ) ( PH ) Our people say that the chorus sounds like… They say the Sardauna sounded like that when he was imploring them non to kill him ( 130 ) ( HYS ) As a transliteration from an autochthonal linguistic communication. in the active voice. it means the object of the sentence has been taken ( arrested ) . and would hold been better rendered in this inactive voice. In many Nigerian autochthonal linguistic communications. when the performing artist of an action is unknown. it is expressed as in the illustration supra. as the inactive voice does non be 490

in many of the autochthonal linguistic communications. Intervention: This is a common characteristic in any linguistic communication contact state of affairs. as 2nd linguistic communication users impose the construction of L1 on L2. The structural transportation of L1 to L2 by Nigerian authors is one of the ways of cultivating the English linguistic communication to show Nigerians’ universe position in an international linguistic communication. Interference is a common characteristic in the usage of English by Nigerians. as the L1 constructions bear to a great extent on L2. In some of the recent Nigerian novels from which this survey draws its information. the undermentioned illustrations demonstrate the phenomenon of intervention that occurs in the English linguistic communication in contact with some Nigerian linguistic communications. My female parent despised her ; she said the adult female had the disease of the oculus: everything she sees. she wanted ( 121 ) ( TSLBSW ) The disease of the oculus. as used in the novel for the intent of literature. is non the type that requires the attending of an optometrist. In Nigerian English. in contact with the Yoruba linguistic communication. it means “greed” . “avarice” . and “covetousness” . This significance is non hidden from Nigerian users of English as a 2nd linguistic communication. but may be unusual to those used to merely Standard English. Iya Femi picked me up with her eyes and threw me to the floor ( 55 ) ( TSLBSW ) The look above is a direct transportation from the construction of L1. Although the look is metaphorical. it is non likely to be understood by anybody non apprehensible in the writer’s first linguistic communication.

In fact. its Standard English rendering is hard. The closest we can hold. but which is non likely to transport the weight required is “Femi’s female parent despised me” . Now you want to take yourself ( 56 ) ( TSLBSW ) The Standard English version of this look is: “Now you want to acquit yourself” . This is a typical instance of both transliteration and intervention. Those flies in the kitchen sah. they are a mark of bad medical specialty from the dibia. Person has done bad medical specialty. The flies. sah. It means person has done bad medical specialty for this house ( 215 & A ; 216 ) ( HYS ) The above is another instance of the intervention of L1 construction on L2. The look bad medical specialty from the dibia as used in the novel can be translated in Standard English to intend “diabolic object from an herbalist” . Sister. but it is amusing. oh…Because of excessively much Book. you no longer cognize how to express joy ( 130 ) ( HYS ) As a instance of intervention. the L1 construction is apparent in the look which in Standard English may be rendered “much acquisition has made you excessively sober” . L1 lexicon extract taking to code commixture and codification shift: Code commixture and codification shift are natural results when linguistic communications are in contact. These are common characteristics in many Nigerian novels and really apparent in the novels used for this survey. In these novels there are instances of extract of L1 vocabularies. excessively legion to advert. They include: names of nutrient points: He pulled the stool towards his fork and proceeded to pulverize the mountain of amala. morsel by morsel. catching every twine of ewedu that dripped down his carpus with his lingua ( 9 ) ( TSLBSW )

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salutations: ‘It has been nice speaking to you. jisie ike’ . he said ( 152 ) ( HYS ) inquiries: Ke kwanu? I asked when he came in ( 30 ) ( PH ) Kedu? She asked ( 22 ) ( HYS ) divinities: She thought I would decease in infirmary but Eledumare did non allow it ( 144 ) ( TSLBSW ) supplications: Come and assist me. biko ( 16 ) ( PH ) All the
novels. like many other Nigerian novels are full with instances of extract of L1 vocabularies. taking to code commixture. This is merely possible for the intent of literature as other signifiers of Hagiographas by Nigerians can non allow this. There are besides instances of codification exchanging in these novels and besides apparent in many Nigerian novels. Yes. Chukwu du anyi. God led us ( 94 ) ( HYS ) Madu! Is this you? O Gb di ife a? ( 139 ) ( HYS ) Eyin Iyawo o ni m’eni ( 102 ) ( TSLBSW )

This is so because in cases where English does non hold required looks and niceties for a Nigerian experience. the desire to pass on frequently consequences in curious looks that are most appropriate for the Nigerian context ( Adegbija. 2004 ) . For illustration. in showing the demand for cooperation. one of the characters in TSLBSW says: Whether we accompany our palm oil with yam or we accompany our yam with oil. the most of import thing is to hold a good repast of oil-soaked yam. We must assist each other ( 100 ) . Okoro ( 2004:167 ) has justly observed that ‘Nigerian English is merely the manner Nigerians speak and compose it! ’ particularly at the syntactic degree by manner of transportation of MT constructions. This is really apparent in Nigerian literature of all genres. but our attending. here. has been on recent Nigerian novels.

VII. CONCLUSION VI. SEMANTICS AND INTELLIGIBILITY IN NIGERIAN ENGLISH As noted by Finch ( 2000:2 ) “‘the staff of life and butter’ of most linguistics…is the survey of phonemics. sentence structure and semantics” and semantics operates at two grammatical ranks of word and sentence. Finch goes on to state that at word rank. semioticians explore the relationships which words have with each other within the linguistic communication as a whole which constitutes their sense ; in other words. the significance which a word has by virtuousness of its topographic point in the lingual system. In kernel. obvious instances of Nigerianism that identify NE will non likely constitute any semantic hinderance. particularly in Written Nigerian English ( WNE ) . That is to state that there is less likeliness of deficiency of common intelligibility in WNE even to native talkers or those used to Standard English. notwithstanding that words and looks are used in unconventional mode. Even when L1 vocabulary points are used aboard Standard English words. taking to code commixture or straight-out codification exchanging. this does non impede intelligibility. as the context of such words provide the needed significance. If sentence structure. is ‘the survey of grammatical dealingss between words and other units within the sentence’ ( Matthews. 2005:368 ) . NE can non be said to be different in any manner from the British or American criterion.

This has to be so because ‘there are certain facets of the grammar of English. as spoken internationally which any diatopic assortment interferes with at its ain peril’ ( Banjo. 1996:74 ) . Talking in the same vena. Adegbija ( 2004:27 ) says ‘to a really big extent. the grammar of English in Nigeria is still in conformance with the grammar of native assortments of English’ . Merely syntactic deformations can impair intelligibility. non merely internationally but even locally. With syntactic construction intact and about on a par with British and American criterion. the particular usage of English for literary intent in Nigeria is to accomplish particular effects. such as giving the usage of English a local spirit that creates a Nigerian national individuality. It must besides be realized that Nigerian English vocabulary ‘contains a big figure of words which are either non found in Standard English or are used in ways peculiar to the Nigerian situation’ ( Igboanusi. 2002:14 ) . 491

Variations are common characteristics of any living linguistic communication and such fluctuations do non corrupt the importance or acceptableness of the assorted signifiers. but these fluctuations must be within the confines of acceptable signifiers that are reciprocally apprehensible. We quote abundantly from Wardhaugh ( 2000: 6 ) to clear up this point: There is considerable fluctuation in the address of any one person. but there are besides definite bounds to that fluctuation: no person is free to make merely what he or she pleases so far as linguistic communication is concerned. You can non articulate words any manner you please. inflect or non inflect words such as nouns and verbs randomly. or do drastic changes in word order in sentences as the temper suits you…The fluctuation you are permitted has limits…these bounds can be described with considerable truth. and…they besides seemingly use to groups of talkers. non merely to persons. Furthermore. persons have cognition of the assorted bounds ( or norms ) . and that cognition is both really precise and at the same clip about wholly unconscious. Nigerian authors who use the English linguistic communication for literary intents take awareness of the facts above.

Their assortment of English is a matter-of-fact response to their curious state of affairss and environment. without interrupting basic regulations of sentence structure and. at the same clip. doing purists realize that a living linguistic communication such as English can non be a closed system. The appraisal of any regional assortment of English. such as Nigerian English should. therefore. be endonormative instead than exonormative. bearing in head local distinctive features. and peculiarly originative and matter-of-fact usage of the linguistic communication. REFERENCES [ 1 ] E. Adegbija. “The domestication of English in Nigeria. ” The Domestication of English in Nigeria. a Festschrift in Honour of Abiodun Adetugbo. . Lagos: University of Lagos Press. 2004. pp. 2044. A. Banjo. Making a Virtue of Necessity: An Overview of the English linguistic communication in Nigeria. Ibadan: Ibadan University Press. 1996. T. Crocker. “Scenes of eternal scientific discipline: ESP and instruction. in ELT paperss 112- The ESP instructor. function. development and chances. The British Council Information Service. 1981. G. Finch. Linguistic Footings and Concepts. Houndmills. Basingstoke. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. 2000.

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International Journal of Social Science and Humanity. Vol. 2. No. 6. November 2012 T. Hutchinson and A. Waters. English for Specific Purposes ( A learning-centered attack. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1991. [ 6 ] H. Igboanusi. a Dictionary of Nigerian English Usage. Ibadan: Enicrownfit Publishers. 2002. [ 7 ] D. Jowitt. “English Language Teaching: A Position from the Millenniu. ” Lead Paper presented at the 7th National Conference of the National Association of Teachers and Researchers in English as a Second Language. Federal Polytechnic. Nasarawa. Nigeria. 6-9 October. 2009. [ 8 ] R. Mackay. “Identifying the nature of the learner’s demand. ” English for Specific Purposes. London: Longman. 1978. [ 9 ] P. H. Matthews. Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2005. [ 10 ] O. Okoro. “Codifying Nigerian English: Some Practical Problems of Labeling. ” in Proc. of the Domestication of English in Nigeria. University of Lagos Press. 2004. pp. 166-181. [ 5 ] [ 11 ] M. Omolewa. “The Emergence of Non-Standard English in Nigeria 1842-1926” in Assortments and maps of the English Language in Nigeria. African Universities Press. 1979. [ 12 ] J. Sinclair. “Models and Memorials. ” in English Today ( ET ) 15 ( IV ) 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1988. [ 13 ] R. Wardhaugh. An Introduction to Sociolinguistics 3rd erectile dysfunction. . Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. 2000. Dare Owolabi ( Michael ) was born at Irun Akoko. Ondo State. Nigeria in 1959 and had his simple instruction at that place. His secondary instruction was at Ajuwa Grammar School. Okeagbe Akoko. He subsequently obtained B. A. . M. A. and PhD from Universities of Benin. Ibadan and Federal University of Technology. Yola severally. He is presently a Senior Lecturer in English at the Department of English and Literary Studies. Faculty of Arts. Ekiti State University. Ado Ekiti. Nigeria. His research involvement is English for Specific Purposes as a signifier of Applied Linguistics and has a strong passion for literature and literary unfavorable judgment. He has published extensively in his country of involvement. both locally and internationally.


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